I have been reading Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives by John Palfrey and Urs Gasser. This is not really a book for tweens as much as it is about tweens, as well as, those of us born after 1980 (including myself). They have this idea that identities are split in two, personal and social. To explain how technology has affected these identities they give an example of a girl living in the agrarian age, industrial age, and then today. They show how it becomes more difficult for someone to just disappear or pick up and start fresh somewhere new. The main change technology has had, is not so much on the personal identity but on the social identity. The social identities have changed to included things like social media (Facebook, Myspace, Pinterest, Glogster, Youtube). It could also include the oh so much fun texting; just a friendly reminder it’s not cool to text in a movie theater (sorry but it’s true)! The change is how we socially interact.
Today a lot of our communication is done through technology; phones, texting, email… this can be a problem for those without access to it. Technology is expensive and with all the constant upgrading that is done you have to keep spending more money to keep up with the newest tech. Libraries and schools help provide somewhat of an alternative for people to become digital natives but they are only open so long and both have time restrictions. For instance if you use a computer at one of the libraries I work at, you can only be on for 2 hours a day, unless you have your own computer and are using the Wi-Fi. There is also those that are just not interested in the computer or get frustrated so don’t try. More classes should be set up and promoted for those that need help with computer skills so they can learn the skills they need to keep up in this society. For those that are not interested, they should be shown some of the benefits or be shown how some of their own interest might be enhanced with technology. Programs for the lending of laptops should be set up in schools and libraries to help those students that can not afford their own computers. It take more than two hours a day or here and there to become a digital native.